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Archive for September, 2010

Nero Wolfe

I’ve been rereading my collection of Nero Wolfe books lately–I think it’s sort of belated comfort reading after melting my brain on the Sooper Seekrit Project earlier this summer.

I was first introduced to Nero Wolfe when we were living in Manhattan by my mother. I had long since gobbled up all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and was looking for something else along those lines to read. So we went to the library, because that’s what you do in situations like this!

The mysteries (and possibly all of the popular fiction) were shelved upstairs; I tended to stay downstairs, because that’s where the children’s/teen area and the general fiction were. I remember wedging myself into a corner by the appropriate shelves, grabbing a title at random, and reading until mom found me and dragged me and my stack of books home. I know for a fact that’s how I started The Black Mountain.

I sort of forgot about Nero Wolfe until my junior year in college, when I picked up a copy of The Red Box at a book sale. I watched the A&E series devotedly when it started a few years later, and from then on I was hooked again. The series was clearly a labor of love, and it was very well done, especially in terms of casting and costuming. My only real complaint was that the actor playing Nero Wolfe wasn’t fat enough. And that it only lasted two seasons.

Whenever I go to a used book store I check to see if there are any Nero Wolfe books there, and buy whatever I don’t already own. I think there are only about four titles I’m missing at this point, at least one of which is very obscure and difficult to find. Hunting them down and buying them used is more fun than waltzing into a chain store to purchase them new, and searching on the Internet is just cheating. It doesn’t really matter to me if I previously read a story last week or fifteen years ago, I enjoy them tremendously. Yes, there are a few things that date them in a cringe-inducing way, but I think they’ve aged much better than your average Agatha Christie story.

The other thing I very specifically remember being introduced to at that time is H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N. I ought to track them down too…

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Pet Peeve

I’ve read several books recently that use foreign languages within the English texts, usually because the book takes place in another country. Which is all well and good, and does lend authenticity and flavor and je ne sais quoi.

However.

In all of the books, there were problems. Problems that ripped me violently from the story at hand and destroyed my enjoyment of it. Problems that could have been avoided by very basic research, in almost every case. Words were misspelled, grammar was overlooked, linguistic conventions were ignored. Even if neither the author nor the editor speak the language in question, it’s not that hard to crack open a bilingual dictionary to make sure a word is SPELLED RIGHT. If it’s something a little more complicated, like capitalization or abbreviation rules, there are experts that can be consulted; there is also the Internet, if all else fails.

But for the love of all that’s holy, do your homework!

Fine, whatever, not everyone is a polyglot like me, so for the majority of readers, this is not an issue. But it looks really, really bad to those of us who do notice, and it makes me question how much work and research and effort went into the rest of the book, and what other errors might be lurking in the text. It’s sloppy and unprofessional, in other words.

After all, if errers creep into the text and aren’t corrected, you mite start to question my authority, nicht wahr?

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Of Two Minds About Books

I guess I don’t understand why this is a sticking point for the couples in the article? Personally, I prefer to read printed books, it’s true. But if I were doing a lot of traveling I’d love to have some sort of an e-reader to cut down on baggage. Mr Lush reads printed books, but he also uses his iPad to read stuff. I certainly don’t think less of him for making that choice.

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Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde, whose books I adore, has some items for sale on his website.

Most of them are the standard sort of things, books, t-shirts, and so on.

And then there are the prints. I want, nay, NEED these. The fact that I have no room left on the library walls is completely and utterly immaterial–that’s what the guest bedroom is for!

(The dodo and the grammasite are my two favorites.)

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